‘The Geography of Business Travel’ session at RGS 2013

The last TGRG session of the conference, ‘The Geography of Business Travel’, comprised a range of papers, from theoretical studies drawing on a range of disciplines, to empirical research based on primary and secondary data, then further to a presentation of a practical tool available to support decision making.

It commenced by exploring the how the practice of business travel has become ingrained in society despite compelling reasons to find alternatives to travel.  James Faulconbridge outlined how market development, the marketing of travel alternatives and the image associated with business travel are challenges to countering this trend.  The company car, a key contributor to business and in some cases leisure travel, was the focus of the next presentation.  Using a London-centric approach, Scott Le Vine answered questions such as ‘How, when and where are company cars used?’ and considered what access to a company car means for household as well as individual travel.  In considering the procurement practices relating to business travel, Paul Adderley presented a tool designed to consider the door-to-door travel and mobility options with consideration for environmental costs.  The tool identifies the range of options providing information about the impact of each; it includes the option not to travel (using a technological alternative) and also recognises that private vehicles may provide part of the solution.  Lisa Davison then examined the characteristics of business travellers who fly as part of their work, highlighting the difficulties in responding to a homogeneous business air travel segment, where in reality a range of sub-segments exist.  The interrelatedness of business and personal travel formed the focus of Kate Pangbourne’s presentation, which emphasised the need to better understand how individual and organisational factors come together, so as to better inform business practices and inform transport policy.

As the conference drew to a close, presenters dashed for their trains or engaged in activities typified by the ‘leisure’ tourism segment thus demonstrating some of the complexities of the geography of business travel.

Continue reading to view a selection of the presentations from the session.

James Faulconbridge’s presentation titled ‘Business travel as institutionalised practice’

Scott Le Vine’s presentation titled the ‘The company car’s time and place’

Lisa Davison’s presentation titled ‘Insights into the business air travel behaviour of residents in the East Midlands’

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